Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley was involved in a three-car crash on Friday that resulted in the deaths of a young mother from Pennsylvania and her 5-year-old daughter, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The Democratic legislator was doing a phone interview with a reporting intern from the Journal Sentinel at the time of the crash in the northern Wisconsin city of Ashland, the outlet reported.
Just after the interview began, Bewley told reporter, Ben Baker she had cataract eye surgery the day before.
Partway into the interview, the call went silent.
“When Baker asked Bewley if she was still on the line, she sounded concerned,” the report said. “When Baker asked if she was OK, she said, ‘Yeah, I’m OK. This is not a good accident.'”
Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley was involved in car crash Friday that killed a mother and her 5-year-old daughter. https://t.co/kx0pPf6mh1
— Molly Beck (@MollyBeck) July 25, 2022
The Ashland Police Department said the 70-year-old legislator pulled out of a Lake Superior beach entrance into the path of a car driven by 27-year-old Alyssa Ortman, the Ashland Daily Press reported.
Ortman’s car hit Bewley’s and was spun across Highway 2, where it was struck by a vehicle driven by Jodi Munson, 45, the report said.
Ortman’s young daughter, Khaleesi Fink, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Ortman was transported to a nearby hospital, where she later died.
Ashland Police Chief Bill Hagstrom said Bewley was not taken to the hospital.
The Daily Press report Tuesday said police were not recommending charges against the legislator.
Bewley released a statement concerning the crash on Monday, the Daily Press reported.
“Senator Bewley was involved in a three-vehicle accident in Ashland, Wisconsin on Friday, July 22nd,” it said. “Tragically, two people lost their lives.
“This is a heartbreaking event for the community. Our thoughts and prayers are focused on the individuals involved, their families and their loved ones.
“A police investigation is ongoing. Out of respect for that investigation and the privacy of all the families involved, our office will be withholding further comment at this time.”
The Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday that Ortman’s mother, Ginger Urbanik, had lost her only son to a crash involving a drunken driver less than two years ago. Now she must grapple with the deaths of her daughter and granddaughter.
Alyssa Ortman, 27, and her 5-year-old daughter Khaleesi Fink died after a car crash in Ashland involving Senate Minority Leader Janet Bewley
— JSOnline – NewsWatch (@js_newswatch) July 26, 2022
“My grandbaby, who was just starting out, just getting ready to start kindergarten — her life’s gone,” Urbanik told the outlet. “And my daughter, who had so much to look forward to, and so much that she wanted to do good in the world, and all of her plans … and now both of our children, within a matter of years, are gone.”
“Our only two children … we’re going to suffer for the rest of our lives,” she said.
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